2020 was another year of so close yet so far for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The 13-year-long hope of RCB fans shattered on Friday after Virat Kohli and Co failed to deliver in the playoffs yet again. Vying for their maiden IPL trophy, the Bangalore side put up a below-par performance when it mattered most, resulting into a six-wicket beating against SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH).
The Eliminator of the on-going IPL edition was a tale of two contrasting sides. While RCB's dismal show in playoffs continued, SRH cruised further in their title heist. Over-reliance on Kohli-AB de Villiers duo has been RCB's flaw for many years. And that's what the world witnessed on one more occasion.
Along with their batting woes, RCB have also been struggling to add a match-winner in their bowling artillery. The likes of Mohammed Siraj, Chris Morris, Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar did leave a mark on the UAE wickets. However, it was 'never enough' to mount a title challenge.
De Villiers was the only batsman who stood up while RCB suffered a batting debacle in the first innings. As many as six players didn't even cross the double-digit mark in the first innings. De Villiers, saving RCB's sinking ship, scored a 43-ball 56 to guide them to a modest total of 131 runs.
Aaron Finch's 32 off 30 was also vital amid RCB's torrid batting display. However, the score was never enough to mount pressure on SRH's batting unit, led by the brilliance of Kane Williamson. In Wriddhiman Saha's absence and David Warner's rare failure, Williamson rose to the occasion and slammed a half-century to seal the victory for his side.
You may not have been cheering us from the stands, but we could feel your presence every single game, 12th Man Army! ❤️@imVkohli#PlayBold #IPL2020 #Dream11IPL #WeAreChallengers pic.twitter.com/O5cXZWOVMl— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) November 7, 2020
RCB's dismal show in playoffs over the years
In a low-scoring affair, the RCB bowling force never looked on top of the game and their gloomy playoffs saga continued with a six-wicket drubbing. Had RCB finished second by thumping Delhi Capitals (DC) in their last league-stage fixture, it would've been a different story altogether. However, leaving fans dejected, Kohli's men fizzled out in their trophy hunt on one more occasion.
Though RCB haven't lifted silverware yet, they have been a familiar face of the playoffs. The franchise had made the semifinals in three of the first four IPL seasons. But they never cruised past the finishing line. Little did the fans know that they had signed up for a never-ending hiatus.
RCB finished as runners-up in 2009 and 2011 -- probably among two finest IPL outings. While they fell six runs short against Deccan Chargers in 2009, the Daniel Vettori-led RCB suffered a six-wicket defeat against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in 2011. It has been downhill ever since. In the past eight seasons, RCB have managed to qualify for playoffs only on three occasions -- 2015, 2016 and 2020. They made it to Qualifier 2 in the 2015 edition but a robust CSK side derailed them yet again. Chasing 140, the MS Dhoni-led side got past RCB with a ball to spare and booked their place in the final.
RCB missed the title by a whisker in 2016
The subsequent year -- 2016 -- was the best-ever season for the Bangalore side. Their two rock-solid pillars, Kohli and de Villers, were brute with their willow. Skipper Kohli scored a record 973 runs in just 16 matches while de Villiers gathered 687 at an average of 687. It looked like RCB's dearth was finally going to end. However, it was SunRisers Hyderabad SRH) who shattered their pipe dream in the final.
While chasing a massive 208-run total, Kohli's men fell short by eight runs to hand David Warner his maiden IPL trophy. While opening the innings, Chris Gayle and skipper Kohli came out strongly to bolster their chances of lifting the coveted trophy. Gayle hammered 76 off 38 balls while Kohli amassed a 35-ball 54. Despite stitching a 114-run opening stand, RCB's run-chase crumbled in the end and managed to post 200 on the scoreboard.
Following their exploits in 2016, RCB endured three dreadful seasons, finishing with a wooden spoon in two of them (2017 and 2019). Shrugging off their three dismal IPL editions, RCB came out all guns blazing with a few additions to their artillery.
Devdutt Padikkal, arguably the most impressive youngster this season, did put up match-winning performances along with Kohli and de Villiers. However, it all seemed pointless against SunRisers on Friday. Neither Kohli nor Padikkal managed to leave a mark in the Eliminator, leaving ardent RCB fans broken-hearted and demoralized.
"It was amazing to have had this opportunity to come out and play. There's a bigger picture going around here and we are all contributing to that. To all our fans who have supported us like every year, we just want to thank them," said Kohli while bidding adieu to the IPL title this year.